A Double-Bubble, ‘Drownproofed’ Childhood

downtown1950001

Photo courtesy of Shasta Historical Society

I am not embarassed to say it. I have lived in Redding for almost all of my life. That would be 53 out of my 54 years. OK, so technically I am not a native, but close enough!

I would be lying if I said that I never thought about moving away, especially in my “just-out-of-high-school-gotta-bust-out-of-this-town” mode. But circumstances did not allow that, and I became content to stay and build my life here amidst family and friends. And at times, I find myself thinking about all those years and how things in this little town have changed.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, thoughts run through my head like a reel on a giant movie projector. Lately it has been a feature about what Redding was like when I was growing up. So I decided to capture some of those images and share them with you. How do you feel about a little stroll down memory lane, with maybe just a few detours here and there? OK, here goes…

One of the first things I recall is living on the west side of town. Well of course I lived there, it was pretty much the ONLY side of town at the time. Enterprise virtually did not exist and there was a lonely stretch of undeveloped road over there called Hilltop Drive. The only building I remember being on that street was the Trinity Lutheran Church. We used take my grandmother there every Sunday morning for services. It was a great adventure, getting to go all that way and even getting to cross the Sacramento River! But therein lies a whole other story.

So let’s meander back to the west side. We originally lived in a little house on Court Street. I attended Pine Street School (now housing restaurants and offices), and Magnolia Elementary (that now features Schreder Planetarium and school district offices). It was a short walk to Miller’s Market on the corner of Eureka Way and Court Street. Across from there was Wentz’s Market.

If you wanted a “little boy” haircut, you visited Jim’s Barber Shop where Rite Aid now sits. Yep, best haircut in town, finished off with a piece of Double Bubble gum, complete with comic. My oldest brother went to Shasta High School, now Redding School of the Arts, and then attended Shasta College, which is now Shasta High School. Are you confused yet, or should I keep trying? I know, let’s go downtown!

At the pinnacle of North Market Street, or Miracle Mile as it was known, was the Timberlanes Bowling Alley.

In the parking lot atop a concrete pedestal sat a hugh iron ball and chain, rumored to be used for knocking down trees during logging or some such thing (remember, I was only 6 or 7 years old and memory does fade). I just recall being fascinated by this and always wanting to go look at it. In fact, that ball and chain, still on the pedestal, now sits at a business down on Eastside Road. Funny, it doesn’t look nearly as big as it used to…

From the hill, we would go south down past the Casa Blanca Motel with its palm trees and sign offering to “drownproof your child” at their swimming pool. Proceeding, we would pass the Roaring 20’s Pizza Parlor, the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, The Shack Restaurant, Hinkle’s Market (penny-candy central!), the police station/city hall, Sambo’s Restaurant and right into downtown Redding.

Downtown offered the high class Dicker’s Department Store as well as J.C. Penneys. There were local stores like The Hub, Girimonte’s, Thompsons, Eaton’s Pharmacy, Vivian’s, The Music Box, and Glover’s Toy Store (a true paradise!), to name a few. The unforgettable City Bakery perfumed the block with the wonderful aroma of fresh baked goodies, including plate-sized sugar cookies. On the corner was Woolworth’s, where any item you needed could probably be found. I especially loved the soda fountain where fresh pies and cakes, covered by glass domes, enticed shoppers to sit and have a bite to eat. And don’t forget the old Payless Drug Store, where a walk down steep stairs brought you to the gold at the end of the rainbow – THE BARGAIN BASEMENT!

Farther along down Market Street was the Cascade Theatre in all its glory (and slight disrepair). For fifty cents, you got the chance to watch two movies and a cartoon, plus the opportunity to throw jujubees and popcorn at the other kids that were there. The floor was perpetually sticky and the seats squeaked, but no one minded. Near the theatre, up some stairs, the best DJs in the world kept everyone rockin’ with KRDG radio, especially Jerry’s Jumpin’ Jukebox!. And if you had your KRDG club card, you might win a t-shirt, movie passes or a Top 40 record. (For those of you not older than dirt, a record looks like a CD on steroids and was played on a device called a phonograph, or for the more literal-minded, a record player.)

Whew! I’ve exhausted myself with this little adventure into my past. Maybe later, when I recover a bit, we could talk about other memories of Redding-past. Like the Christmas tree in the middle of Market Street that slightly-inebriated revelers hit several times (Honest, officer, I really DIDN’T see that giant tree with all the lights in the road!!).

And we could talk about Lake Redding Park, now Caldwell Park, where Saturday mornings were spent at Kiddieland, riding the tiny roller coaster, airplanes and boat ride. We would look at the animals through bent wire cages and try to startle the peacocks so they would fan their magnificent tails for us. I could relate tales of years spent at the rodeo grounds (a very important part of my life) and watching the Civic Auditorium and the Mt. Shasta Mall being built. Shopping at Wonderworld, Ardan, and Grant’s Department Store. The old skating rink on Hwy 273, the giant statue of Paul Bunyon near the Rite Spot Restaurant, the plush Doc’s Hilltop Skyroom, the Carnagie Library where the smell of aged books triggered thoughts of adventure and faraway places, and … well, I could just go on and on ( and usually do!)

But it can wait … it’s getting late and that movie reel in my head is about to start. I wonder, is it possible to eat popcorn in your sleep?

Bobbi Berg was raised in Redding. She has worked as a Property/Evidence Technician with the Redding Police Department for more than 16 years. She is married, has three children and two granddaughters. She designs and makes jewelry with her best friend and is a member of Country Gold Dancers, a line dance team.

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24 Responses

  1. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Oh, Bobbie – thanks for this! I was one year behind you at Shasta High School and I do remember all these things – Grant's, Vivian's, the City Bakery (which was near the Shasta Bakery, if I remember correctly), Woolworth's (which stocked that most exotic of perfumes, Evening in Paris), Glover's (I think it was really an auto parts store but had the most wonderful and unusual toys), Eaton's Drug Store (which seemed awfully sophisticated)… These memories are jewels.

  2. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    Bobbi, thanks for the truly delightful walk down memory lane! I am a son of Shasta, was born and raised here (on the "other side of the tracks") and it is so cool to hear from someone who remembers – so accurately, colorfully and vividly! I can't wait to read more in your next installment!! Someday, when I'm braver, I may share some of my recollections from the "other side of the tracks…" Great writing, Bobbi – what a great way to start my day, thanks!

  3. Avatar terrie montgomery says:

    Thank you that was a wander full trip Im about 9 years older. Dont forget Genes hamburger stand . Driving around and around town half the night.

  4. Avatar Jill Halvorsen says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

    I've lived here since '63 and remember much of what you wrote. One of the things our kids loved most was that Santa Claus (who absolutely was NOT fake) with his reindeer penned up off Market St.for at least a week in December.

    And Wards, the place to shop for everything.

    So thrilling to see Whiskeytown Lake fill up and become the magnificent recreation spot it is. Not a bad place to live!

    • Avatar Bobbi Berg says:

      Thank you all for the nice comments! I really meant it when I said that I could go on and on…… every memory just seemed to evoke another one. The Arctic Circle Drive In ( the "AC"), the downtown "Cruise" on Friday nights, watching "American Graffiti" at the brand new Showcase Theater on Hilltop Dr….. And, yes, I certainly do remember the live reindeer and dear old Santa in the middle of downtown. There were also the huge decorative candy canes that hung from the lightposts. As I said, the more I think about it, the more memories surface and all the time just seems to fade away….

  5. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    Haven't lived here ALL my life, but close enough. Had to chuckle when you mentioned the skating rink on 273. Christmas '68, when we got the snow storm (28 inches as I recall) and we lost so many buildings due to roof cave-ins, I remember that the owner put up a sign on the marquee, the only part still standing, that said, "Closed for repair!" Good thing he had a great sense of humor 'cause nothing else was still standing.

    Even though I'm a late comer (by your standards), it was still a great trip down memory lane.
    tanx . . .

  6. Avatar Mrs. Beans says:

    Bobbi, you are such a gifted writer…great stuff.

  7. Avatar Pat j. says:

    We moved here in 1958 and were delighted with the small town, lakes, river, and mountains. Thank you for the great memories.

  8. Avatar Leo says:

    Ball and Chain, now scratched and rusting, wish that would get donated to Turtle Bay for safe keeping. I knew Mr. Wixon, the man who came up with the idea, when I was a little kid.

    Wasn't Timberlanes destroyed by some freak snowstorm? I remember some building being completely flattened. March of some year.

    My dad still talks about Lim's Cafe, the only place to eat in town, at the time, in his opinion.

    • Avatar Budd Hodges says:

      Leo…that snowstorm was indeed in Dec 1968. It's heavy wet snow caved in several business

      buildings like Wonderworld, the skate rink in south Redding, Pay and Save on Market and Timberlanes at the top of Sulpher Creek Hill on Lake Blvd. I believe the bowling alley on California Street also lost it's roof to a cave in also.

      What's so ironic is that radio announcements or regular bulletins were broadcast throughout that day for people with flat roofs to shovel them because of that wet snow.

      Some of those buildings were rebuilt but a few like Wonderworld, the bowling alley downtown and the skating rink went out of business.

      I enjoyed your story Bobbi, Thank you!

  9. Avatar Julie Caley says:

    I am your age, and grew up in Dunsmuir. We would come to Redding for the orthodontist, school and Xmas shopping. I remember the subteen department at Dickers where we bought Girl Scout uniforms, and the basement at Payless where one found Barbie clothes. Thanks for the memories. Julie

  10. Avatar Suzie Sebastian says:

    Wow, this brought back so many memories. I was born in Redding in 1962 and left when I was 19 or 20 years old. My parents owned and I grew up at the Motel 99 on Market Street. That's when Market street was the main part of town. I remember the snow storm well because the snow was so high over my head. I Live in Santa Barbara now but will be moving back to Redding soon. I wish it had a little bit of that old town charm still on Market street where the Redding mall is located. At least it is coming back to some degree. Thanks for the memories. I had forgotten much of this.
    Suzie

  11. Avatar M. Hopkins says:

    Oh Bobbi ~ Your article has brought back so many wonderful memories!!!

    I stumbled across this while trying to find the name of the drive-in on Market Street (the Arctic Circle) that had the "special sauce" that I loved to dip my french fries in ~ to this day I've never been able to duplicate the recipe!

    I was born in Redding in 1950 and have been away for a few years ~ I still come "home" on a regular basis to see my parents so Redding is still very much a part of my life. It has certainly changed over the years, sadly not for the better in my opinion, but to me it is still a wonderful town.

    I hope you don't mind if I share some of my memories ~

    The Shasta Maid fountain had the best french fries ~ there was nothing better than sitting there in a booth on a Saturday afternoon and picking songs out of the little juke box machine at the table. I think we could get three songs for a quarter! Inside Eaton's next to the swinging glass doors between the Shasta Maid Fountain and Eatons was a large scale that we always had to stand on to see how much we weighed! The shoe department inside Dicker's carried Van Eli's ~ you were really popular if you wore those!!! The Don's Drive In on Market Street had the best milk shakes! We loved going to Woolworth's when they had the balloons on the wall behind the fountain counter ~ you picked one out and popped it to see how much you could get a banana split for! You could take your report card down to the Coca Cola bottling plant at the bottom of Placer and Continental Street and get a six pack of coke if you had A's! Norman Bailey and The Nervous Cats would play at Ricardo's ~ in the summer time, bands would play for dances on the tennis court in the city park by Gene's. We would pull in to the gas station on Pine Street and get a dollar of gas so that we could continue driving up Pine and down Market all night long ~ then see if we could cut through the driveway by where LuLu's is now without getting in trouble! The best part of summer was going to The Plunge ~ I learned how to swim in the "baby pool" there! I hated having to walk through that ice cold water as you came out of the locker room! Girls had to wear bathing caps ~ I still remember putting my clothes in a wire basket and attaching the Pin to my swim suit ~ and I still remember going off the high-dive! In the 50's, Placer Street hill next to the Schreder Planetarium would be closed on a Saturday for soap box derby races ~ and nobody wore helmets!!!! The basement of the Carnegie library held the childen's books and I remember the stairs seemed so steep to walk down! There was a teepee burner at the mill, just before you crossed the Cypress Street bridge that would always smell so good when it was burning ~ although, the sewer plant right next to it would always make us hold our breath when we would drive by!

    Oh my, there are so many more ~ I could go on and on but I'll stop for now!

    Thank you so much for sharing your memories of Redding with us! It truly was a wonderful town to grow up in ~ I feel very fortunate for being able to do so!

  12. Avatar r. richard says:

    bobbi – thank you for starting all this. don't think a lot of people realize what we no longer have. been here since 1940. remember folding bandages for the red cross in the basement of the old library with my mother and other ladies during ww 2. and leo – didn't mr trisdale use "the ball" designed by red wixon on the clearing for lake shasta? and m. hopkins – you make me feel much older. genes drive in is still one of my pets along with jacks and i remember the first time i tried ketchup with my french fries was when i picked my kids and others from a school dance and got talked into taking them to lou grushs rite spot. memories!!

  13. Avatar Bobbi Berg says:

    M. Hopkins – I do remember all of the things and places that you wrote about, too! There is so much more rolling around in my brain……. Does anyone else remember Miss King, who taught at Pine Street School around 1961-62? She taught Kindergarten and on Fridays, if we were good, she would bring in her two

    black and white Boston Terriers, Suzie and Sally. We would get to play with them and they would run around the classroom. Can you imagine if a teacher did that today?

    And what about field trips to McColl's Dairy where we learned how milk and ice cream were packaged for delivery to stores and houses. Of course, the best part was the little cups of ice cream at the end of the tour. You know, with those little flat wooden spoons that actually tasted like wood. Yum!

  14. Avatar LinDee says:

    Hi Bobbi! I found your meanderings down memory lane through a search for information about the "Radio Motel" that was at 2915 Market St. in Redding, likely in the 1950s.

    Do you have any knowledge of it, and most especially why it was called the "Radio" Motel? Sounds like you were there at the time … and you have a personal connection with the motels–what an interesting life for a kid of that era!

    I'm "of a certain age," as well, and the motel's name caught my eye as I roamed the Internet re: a book I'm writing, "Blast from Your Past! Rock & Roll Radio DJs Who ROCKED Your World! 1954-1979." (www.BlastFromYourPast.NET)

    Oh yeah–and I lived in Anderson from the age of 4-9 (1952-58) and remember eating at Sambo's and driving downtown in "the city."

    So if you have any recollections of this motel and would like to share, I'm all ears! And I enjoyed reading your ruminations. Especially the notes about KRDG radio, of course! 🙂 Feel free to tell me more about that too–could be used as a filler/listener story in the book. (Still room for a few more!)

    Rock on!

    LinDee

  15. Avatar Chip says:

    Remember all of this and more. Moved away to go to college and never returned. After several years of yearning to return, I decided that the vision of Redding in my minds eye was sweeter given all the changes that must have occurred over 50 years. My advantage is I still see home through the eyes of the past, nothing has changed and I won't trade that!

    Chip

  16. Avatar Dezra (Sewell) Guthr says:

    It's kind of amazing how I stumbled upon this article and blog by Bobbi Berg. I grew up in Redding — went to Pine Street Elementary, Magnolia Elementary, Sequoia Middle School, Nova and Shasta High (and Shasta College) — and had many similar memories to those shared and remember all those great places. Here's a few more…remember Sun West — that cool clothing store in the 70's downtown? How about that cool head shop across from Hinkles Market that had the patchouli and cherry essential oils and black light room in the 70's? Lots of 70's memories…

    Dezra

  17. This will be the appropriate blog for anybody who wants to be made aware of this topic. You are aware of much its practically challenging to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You certainly put a different spin on the topic thats been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!

  18. Avatar G. Quint says:

    Anyone remember Disc Date, the televised dance show that imitated American Bandstand? Also, I remember the A&W (best root beer ever) on South Market; the Blue Heaven night club on Eureka Way; Tubby & Ann's; Purity Market. Thank you for this stroll down memory lane. I've lived here since 1961. Great writing.

  19. Avatar jbaker98 says:

    Any idea what became of the Paul Bunyan Giant that stood at the Rite Spot Restaurant? I'm also interested in where the Rite Spot stood exactly, anyone remember? I run a website called usagiants.com that covers my adventures looking for the fiberglass giants called Muffler Men (like the Paul Bunyan that once stood in Redding) Any info or memories/pictures would be great! americangiants.mufflermen@gmail.com

  20. Doni Chamberlain Doni Chamberlain says:

    This will sound weird, but the last I heard, the huge Paul Bunyan statue was in Viola, outside a church camp. (I thought I'd written about it a million years ago, but couldn't find a link to it.) The location of the Rite Spot was on Highway 273/South Market Street in Redding on the east side of the road. I have no memory of the Rite Spot, but maybe other readers can do a better job of answering. Thanks for visiting aNewsCafe.com.

  21. Avatar rcantu says:

    Oh such memories except at my age (Shasta High Class of 1968) my 50 cent allowance bought me two movies,  at least two cartoons, a coke and candy bar! It was at the Cascade that I truly learned that Commando Cody the bullet shaped helmet / jet pack crime fighter was fake!

    What wonderful memories Bobbi, thanks for bringing them back.

  22. Avatar Connie Loyd Davis says:

    I shared your article on a FB page called You know your from Redding if….

    You may have noticed a huge increase of page visit. Lots of people made great comments nd ppreciated your article.